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PBA PARTY-LIST THANKS EJ OBIENA FOR LOYALTY TO PH

The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list praised pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena for saying he had ‘no desire’ to play under another flag despite the recent controversy involving him and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

“We can breathe a sigh of relief with EJ’s assurance that he plans to keep playing for the Philippines. Salamat, EJ, for your loyalty to your flag and nation,” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

The PBA Party-list spokesperson previously warned PATAFA that Obiena could become another Wesley So and play for another country if they could not properly back up their accusations against the athlete.

Nograles said whatever doubt with Obiena should now be cleared with coach Vitaly Petrov’s latest statement, which absolved the Olympian of any wrongdoing. Petrov also branded the PATAFA investigation into Obiena a “witch hunt.”

“Malinaw na malinaw naman na siguro sa sinabi ni Coach Petrov na EJ has his full trust and confidence. This should put the issue to rest once and for all so EJ can go back to focusing on his training,” Nograles said.

Meanwhile, the Davaoeña also said the best way for PATAFA president Phillip Juico to clear himself of Petrov’s allegations that he tricked the latter was to release the questionnaire he asked the legendary pole vaulting coach to answer. Petrov also accused Juico of initiating the discussions about his payments.

“It’s a case of he-said-he-said. Coach Petrov is saying he was tricked while Mr. Juico is saying Petrov knows the truth, so the best way to disprove the allegations against Mr. Juico is to release to the public the questionnaire since he appears to be in possession of it,” she said.

In his latest statement, Petrov said he “answered and later signed a questionnaire because [he] was made to understand through [PATAFA’s] circuitous questioning and reasoning that this would facilitate smoother payments.”

“I answered it that way because I honestly thought it would help unburden EJ of this unnecessary role of managing my payments and that he could fully focus on training. I never could have imagined it would be used in the way it is used now as a weapon to destroy a promising career,” Petrov added.

“This should put the issue to rest once and for all so EJ can go back to focusing on his training.”

“This should be a lesson to treat our athletes with the respect they deserve and not throw allegations carelessly,” Nograles said.

The PBA Party-list spokesperson previously warned PATAFA that Obiena could become another Wesley So and play for another country if they could not properly back up their accusations against the athlete.

“Huwag sana nilang hintayin na maging Wesley So rin si EJ Obiena. It is hard enough to lose star athletes, but it is especially heartbreaking to see them play for another country when they could be playing for the Philippines if only our sporting officials treated them better,” Nograles said.

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